Mystery of Indian maid's death in Saudi deepens
The death of Asima Khatoon, a maid in Saudi Arabia, remains a mystery as Saudi authorities have refused to divulge any details regarding the circumstance of her demise. Asima's few phone calls back to her family in Hyderabad were filled with allegations of assault and degrading treatment by her employers. To add to the misery of the household, even the fate of Asima's body seems to be untraceable, with officials on both sides of the Arabian Sea staying silent on the situation.
Asima died last week in the Riyadh hospital while undergoing treatment, following an unknown incident in employer's home. Her mother - Ghousia Khatoon - received a notice about her daughter's death last Thursday - three days after Asima's death.
Ghousia Khatoon (pictured above) is still in a state of confusion. She remains clueless about the fate of her daughter's body, which is presumably still in King Saud Chest Diseases Hospital, Riyadh. There has been no information either from the Hyderabad police or the Telangana government.
Amjed Uallah Khan, an ex-Corporator from the Majlis Bachao Tehreek, tried to reach out to the government. Khan said he had faxed letters to Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh in the Centre and to Telangana's NRI affairs minister KT Ramarao and chief secretary Rajiv Sharma.
"What is there to do for me except wait for the some information. So far nobody has spoken to me. But I have been assured that my daughter's body would soon reach home," Ghousia said.
"We haven't had any information from the government so far. There is nothing particularly hard about the retrieval of a dead body. The mother is still in shock as she has been unable to see her daughter's body even four or five days after she received information about Asima's death. There has been no cooperation from the Telangana government," Amjed told Asianet Newsable over the phone.
G Ramesh, Inspector of Rain Bazar Police Station, said they have written a letter to embassy officials from the NRI cell. "There has been no official word yet as to how and why Asima died," Ramesh added.
An Indian volunteer who assists Telangana and Andhra Pradesh family members retrieve dead bodies from Riyadh through the Indian Embassy there said no information was coming out of the hospital. The volunteer clarified that Embassy officials had swung into action as of now and more information was expected shortly.
"A significant number of young girls with a poor economic background, mostly hailing from the old city of Hyderabad, are being smuggled into Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. Riyadh is a major destination for them. At any given time, Hyderabadi women can be found at shelter house run by Indian Embassy in Riyadh," the volunteer told Asianet Newsable from Riyadh.
"House arrest, insufficient food and being unable to use a phone are the common sufferings of all such maids," he added.